swad·​dle | \ ˈswä-dᵊl How to pronounce swaddle (audio) \
swaddled; swaddling\ ˈswäd-​liŋ How to pronounce swaddling (audio) , ˈswä-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of swaddle

transitive verb

1a : to wrap (an infant) with swaddling clothes
b : envelop, swathe legs swaddled in bandages
2 : restrain, restrict marriage … swaddled him in a domesticity he came to loathe— Nina Auerbach

Examples of swaddle in a Sentence

He swaddled the baby in a blanket.

Recent Examples on the Web

Delta banned straws, turned to compostable stir sticks, and stopped swaddling its utensils and amenity kits in plastic. Jasmin Malik Chua, Vox, "The best $3,000 I ever spent: training for my unruly dog," 9 July 2019 Nurses had wrapped the tiny body in swaddling blankets anyway. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Speaking for baby Rose: How a Baltimore detective found his purpose investigating child abuse," 6 June 2019 Bebe had struggled to care for her fatherless newborn, and during a psychotic break left her swaddled at a fire station, only for a social worker to place the baby with Linda, who had suffered five miscarriages and wanted to adopt. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "It’s really all about the moms (and a few spoilers)," 21 June 2019 The post features a touching shot of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, and Doria Ragland (Meghan Markle's mother) all leaning over to get a peek at the tike, who's swaddled in a white blanket. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip Meet Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor in New Instagram Post," 8 May 2019 Binnington was all over the goal, stretching and snagging and reaching in ways most normal people could never dream of doing, let alone someone swaddled in approximately 586 pounds of padding. Aj Willingham, CNN, "Jordan Binnington was the Stanley Cup's unlikely hero," 13 June 2019 Staff at the Chinese hospital swaddled them in white, laying them in incubators. Preetika Rana, WSJ, "How a Chinese Scientist Broke the Rules to Create the First Gene-Edited Babies," 10 May 2019 Joanna wrote on Instagram of a shot showing Crew swaddled in a rocker in his nursery. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "Joanna Gaines Says Newborn Son Crew Is 'Settling in Just Fine' in His Nursery — See the Photo!," 30 June 2018 In the first photos Andy (and his pup, Wacha!) shared of Benjamin, the infant is swaddled in a crib looking happy as can be—and showing off a stylish set of crib sheets. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Andy Cohen's Son Keeps Cozy in Adorable Sheets—Available at Target," 14 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'swaddle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of swaddle

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for swaddle

Middle English swadelen, swathelen, probably alteration of swedelen, swethelen, from swethel swaddling band, from Old English; akin to Old English swathian to swathe

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about swaddle

Statistics for swaddle

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for swaddle

The first known use of swaddle was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for swaddle



English Language Learners Definition of swaddle

: to wrap (someone, especially a baby) tightly with a blanket, pieces of cloth, etc.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on swaddle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with swaddle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for swaddle

Spanish Central: Translation of swaddle

Nglish: Translation of swaddle for Spanish Speakers

Comments on swaddle

What made you want to look up swaddle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!